Fortune is Relative!

Grandma passed away about ten years after grandpa did, now these two lived rather meager lives; only buying what was needed. They never put anything on credit; purchasing their home back in 1948, for $10,000 and by the time their children all left home it was fully paid for. When Grandpa Joe died, all the children could not wait to put granny in a facility-but she had all her faculties in tact, so well, they had to wait for a few years.

The day finally came when granny just could not take care of herself, so quick as a wink, the children rushed her frail little body to the nearest home. There was two things they wanted to do: Get the house ready for sale, and look for the fortune they were sure Granny and granddad had hidden.

The one item in the house that was most precious to the couple was their Aspen bed; a very tall bed frame, it is a curvy log structure made from bendy cut Aspen Trees; this was the couple’s finest purchase. They had the typical photos on the wall; mostly of their children and grandchildren, a picture of Jesus, some crazy things too. Granny collected some rather odd decorative items; a couple of stuffed felt moose that hung over the doorway, some talking animals, and her Winnie the Pooh collectables.

While Grandma laid tucked away in her hospital bed, a few of their children came often to see to her needs, while the others ransacked her home. As they took down all the wall hangings, one noticed a big wall safe-

“YES! I found the money!” Exclaimed Pat

“Well, all we need to do now is find the combination.” Chimed Nathan

The two children searched high and low, shuffling papers, going through drawers, and cabinets, and yet, they just couldn’t find the combination.

Nathan grabbed a trash can and started tossing everything out that was not important, He called the local thrift store and arranged for a pick-up at the end of the week.

Meanwhile, at the hospital, Grandma Lena, sat up and was having a conversation. The girls watched and just believed that she was finally in the stages of Alzheimer’s, and continued with their usual routine; putting fresh clothes neatly into the drawers, making the room appear more like home, and freshening up her flowers.

“Hi honey, catch anything today?” mumbled grandma “Ah, you got the hook baited? She continued. Granny laughed with such a roar that it startled the girls.

“Who are you talking to mom?” Asked Terry

“Who else do you think I’m talking to Terry, your daddy!”

Both girls looked at each other and nearly cried.

Whispering to Terry, Lana quietly said: “Poor mom, She has completely lost her mind.”

The girls finished their last task, kissed Granny and walked out of the room.

Grandma was still carrying on her conversation with grandpa.

Grandma Lena spoke to grandpa, as he told her of the goings on at their home. What a chuckle to two were having.

“Lena, you should see those kids scrambling to find the combination-it’s a sight to see for sure!”

He continued: “Nate has everything tore down, including our bed, and yet…they aint found a darned thing!”

Lena laughed louder than before, he laughter echoed down the hall and bounced back into the small drab room.

“When you gonna reel in the catch Joe?” Giggled Lena

“Soon my love, soon.” He was starting to talk about more when he jumped up and headed towards the door. “Oh boy, there they go again!” Joe smooched his sweet wife. “Gotta go baby, more stuff’s happenin’ I’ll come back and catch you up!”

At the house, Patsy found an old case, she looked and saw the keepsakes stashed; there were cards, a postcard from Camp Wanatiki, jelly smeared, of course, a tiny piece of brown hair, tied up with a pink ribbon, some baby teeth, a report card, a love letter, covered in bright red lipstick, and ration stamps from wartime. There was a picture of mom sitting on great granddad’s knee; funny how much little Sarah looks just like her! Tears fell down Patsy’s cheek. Nathan yelled and Patsy wiped her tears while she went running-Nathan sounded as if he’d seen a ghost!

Patsy ran down the hall and into grandma’s bedroom.

“What the heck is wrong Nate?” She said as she stumbled into the room

“This was not here a minute ago.” He squealed as he pointed to his dad’s fishing vest.

“What are you talking about? That was in dad’s closet just last week, perhaps you tossed it there while rifling through his stuff!” Pasty spit back in a nagging tone.

“But Pasty, I gave that away to the thrift store yesterday!” Nate said in a questioning voice.

“Whatever, Nate, get back to finding that darned combination!” She tossed a slap his way and stormed back into the other room.

Nate tore apart the big aspen bed and placed it into a pile along with that darned vest; he stacked boxes of bedding and other items to send to the thrift store.

“Too much stuff, they had way too much worthless stuff!” Mumbled Nate.

Nate placed the bed pieces for the trash to pick up; they had scoured the entire house for the combination. Patsy boxed al she wanted and placed the rest for people to take. The house was empty except for the memories-

Nate was outside, waiting for the garbage truck to hall all the trash away, while Patsy placed what was precious in her pick-up truck.

As the garbage man started to load the bed, he yelled out to his partner

“Nice bed! I wonder what these numbers are burned into the wood?

Nate’s eyed flashed and he ran nearly ripping over his feet to see what they were talking about.

There it was, in plain site, the combination to the safe! Nate Screamed for Patsy and she ran quickly by his side- With a tube of lipstick, she jotted down the numbers and ran into the bedroom where the safe was located.

Her hands were shaking, Nate ran in to her side, they were so sure they had found the fortune left behind. As she turned to the first number 09- she hear a click.

“This has got to be it Nate!” Patsy squealed

Now for the next number 13, another distinctive click, and the last number 97 the tumble made that magical click and *pop* the safe was open.

There was at least one thousand envelopes stuffed full! The two were excited and stuffed all the envelopes to share with the rest of the family for a quick evening. No expense was sparred, the gala would be the highlight for the entire family!

Meanwhile back at the hospital, Lena was talking to her husband.

“Oh sweetie- heart, you should see the fish I got! I’m ready to reel it in tonight, So sorry you won’t be there to see it- “

Lena Said. Dear, I wouldn’t miss this for the world, her head fell to the pillow and soon the couple were united in death, the two walked out the room together. Suddenly they were both in the home of Terry, all the grandchildren huddled next to grandpa’s chair as the adults took a few envelopes and made ready to view the contents-

“At the count of three, everyone open one envelope!” Stated Patsy “one, two, THREE!” Envelopes were ripping faster that a humming bird’s flight! Mom and dad looked on with just as much anticipation.

Patsy managed to get her envelope opened first; her hands were shaking, all eyes were focused on that first envelope- As the contents were dumped on the table Patsy let out a shriek and fainted! Pictures of mom NUDE and there were pictures of both of them in rather censored situations. All their grown children gasped! As the rest of the envelopes opened only to reveal more similar photos! The final envelope had a letter:

Dear Family,

I by now you have already looked at my pictures, looking for a fortune; well, our fortune was my marriage, the years spent with the most wonderful woman ever, the sleepless nights when any of you were sick or troubled, waiting up way past midnight for you to come home from a date, a first tooth, butterfly kisses, tears shed of lost loves, and over the birth of each child. You all are my greatest treasure, no monetary amount will ever suffice when I have my family. Be good to yourselves and each other. Remember life is an exciting roller coaster ride, raise those arms high and scream!

Love you all,

Dad

Just as the letter was finished a call came in from the hospital: We are sorry to inform you that your mother Lena, has passed away. Tears drowned out the silence and then-laughter! Dad had had the last word.